Nine years ago, the Mets reached the World Series with a significantly less-talented cast than their modern brethren. Their starting outfield—perhaps the worst in the history of the Fall Classic—was Benny Agbayani, Jay Payton and Timo Perez. Their shortstop was Mike Bordick, with Todd Zeile manning first. The final three spots in the rotation were handled by Glendon Rusch, Rick Reed and Bobby Jones. Armando Benitez (egad) closed and John Franco, age 1,658, set him up. In short, on paper the Mets frightened no one.
Yet those Mets played with heart, spunk and tenacity. After every win, someone would inevitably blast Thelma Houston’s Don’t Leave Me This Way on the clubhouse stereo, turning the room into a loud, bubbly bastion of glee. Veterans like Al Leiter and Robin Ventura set the tone, and Mike Piazza seemed to hit a game-winning home run whenever one was needed. Manager Bobby Valentine, slightly less stable than a one-legged emu, walked and spoke with a swagger that, though often mocked by his players, proved invaluable. The Mets wouldn’t lay down—for anyone.
Ah, memories. Burnt out ends of smoky days. The still cold smell of morning. A street lamp dies, another night is over. Another day is dawning. These Mets lay down—for everyone. They play with little gusto, and less aggressiveness. They rarely hit in the clutch, and make lackluster opposing pitchers appear to be the second coming of Steve Carlton.
When the Yankees suffer through a conga line of injuries, the organization never offers up the maladies as an excuse. The Mets, on the other hand, all but seek out injuries to cite to the media. If only we had Delgado. If only we had Reyes.
If only ...
Posted: June 05, 2009 at 10:39 PM | 21 comment(s)
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